Ficus Microcarpa

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Here's the first bonsai I ever bought, a ficus microcarpa (Golden Gate.) This was January of 2005, after I had had it for ten years.







Not much change for ten years, except for a planing angle change. For the whole thread, you can visit either of these two links:

http://bonsaistudygroup.com/tropical-bonsai-discussion/ficus-microcarpa-progression/

http://sashi-no-eda.blogspot.com/search/label/ficus


This post originally showed my work to develop the tree into something usable.

Here it is in 2007 still in its ten inch oval pot:



I wrapped the trunk in sphagnum and aluminum foil for about a year, and this is what I ended up with:



Notice that the pot is cracked. I ended up repotting into a twelve inch pot:





This was where I left this thread, so between this new first post and my next one, please refer to these pictures.
 
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Tachigi

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Hi Chris, To start with I find the back drop color and lighting of the cubical, or whatever it is, quite pleasing against your ficus....call me strange. The roots you plan on growing, will they be aerial? If not how do plan on producing them? Bare minimums ..... please elaborate.
 
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I seen this one earlier on another forum, I'm glad you decided to bring it here after all. ;)

I love this species.

Someone needs to tell the importers that America has grown tired of the "S" shape and that we would like to see something representing another letter of the alphabet for a change, lol. It seems this shape is common everywhere, I know I see it in almost every bonsai nursery around here.

I grow my tropicals here in Michigan in my basement now, under florescent lights with no additional heating. Although we do have forced air, that helps a bit, but the basement is always a few degrees cooler. Part of the price we pay for growing tropicals in a temperate climate, I guess.

The relative dampness of the basement does have good side effects, like the quick creation of roots. I created four inch long aerial roots this winter in under two weeks by using sphagnum moss and a plastic grocery bag. I have found that the Golden Gate (ficus retusa) can be worked any time of the year, in fact I just re-potted, root pruned, and hacked back one about a month ago (January). It has responded very well and is throwing buds out now as well as many roots.

I may not be an expert, but my figs always seem to be happy. In fact, sometimes they reward me with some small fruit.

Anyhow, I'd be interested to see what you will do with this piece of stock, it certainly has potential, but I think it will need a major restyle. The nice thing about this shape of stock is that you can always layer a perfectly good tree off, if not two. One thing that caught my eye right away was the beautiful lower trunk on this, very nice!

Just out of curiosity, who previously worked this ficus?

Will
 
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kytombonsai

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Chris,

Looks good. Big change from the original picture.

Tom
 

TheSteve

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I like the way you've set the tree up for it's future canopy, it's looking good. But I have to be honest... I hate the pot. Too shiny and the shape of the feet are worsened by the off color. Sorry Chris.
 
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In May I cut the tree back hard, to force budding at the trunk and start to build.








It looks a little odd, but there is more.
 
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Here's another photo about one month later than the last.



Since I don't smoke, I had to use the next most universal measuring tool for bonsai sizing!

 
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So I suppose I should ask the question, "Where would you take this tree?" What would you do with it? The defoliated images show the basic structure quite well so there should be no confusion as to what material is available.

Also, how long do you think it would take to achieve your particular vision?

Chris
 
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Chris,

The 90 degree bend in the trunk is bothersome to me, although I can see some design potential leaving it on, I think I see a great start on a shohin by removing it. Either way, nice trunk and great aerial rootage.



Will
 

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Will,
Thanks for your idea. I prefer not to see it as a 90 degree angle in the trunk, but a massive branch the tree needs to grow into.
 

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Hi Chris, really nice work. I love the aerial roots you were able to develop. Reminds me a lot of the old fig trees I saw when I went to Australia a couple of years ago. Well done.
 
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Hi Chris, really nice work. I love the aerial roots you were able to develop. Reminds me a lot of the old fig trees I saw when I went to Australia a couple of years ago. Well done.
Where would go proceed with this tree?
 

mcpesq817

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Where would go proceed with this tree?
I haven't worked with ficus before, so I am not familiar with the extent to which they backbud, etc. I also wasn't sure what size final tree you are going for.

Caveats aside, I think if you're going to go with a shohin banyan-type style (upright, very full canopy), then I think I would cut off that thick branch (looks too thick for the design) and work on backbudding and developing spreading branches. I think that would look really nice - particularly since you have those aerial roots. But, it's a bit hard hard to tell from the pictures how much of a trunk you would be left working with (I can see doing that design from your June pictures, but harder to tell from the more recent pictures). Would definitely remind me of the majestic fig trees I saw in Australia.

If you wanted a larger tree that incorporates trunk movement, I imagine you would want to keep that thicker branch as the leader, but cut it back to that leader you wired up and turn the tree slightly so that the right angle bend is less obvious.

I think either could work, but I would lean towards the first.
 
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cascade

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Chris,

here in Florida I would proceed as followed: Banyan style design, then saw off the base and graft some of the "discarded roots" to the new base. Now you end up with a nice little banyan ficus and another stump to grow into a tree (plus the little tree that was left).

Here it would take about 2 seasons to achieve the banyan tree ficus plus reducing the base.

Best,
dorothy
 

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Dorothy's design is what I was thinking (maybe minus that thick branch), but she explained it a lot better :)
 
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ericN

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i would put sphagnum moss and aluminum foil on the bottom of the big branch to promote more aerial roots. spreading the trunk line more for a banyan style.

hope that helps
eric
 
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Chris,

here in Florida I would proceed as followed: Banyan style design, then saw off the base and graft some of the "discarded roots" to the new base. Now you end up with a nice little banyan ficus and another stump to grow into a tree (plus the little tree that was left).

Here it would take about 2 seasons to achieve the banyan tree ficus plus reducing the base.

Best,
dorothy
Dorothy, Thanks for your reply! That's an interesting concept. Not living in a tropical climate, I am curious as to the exact techniques you would use to perform this. I have seen photos of major work like that being done, but of course there is no one here who does such things.

Do you have some photos of work along those lines? I'd be interested in any insight you might share.

Chris
 

treebeard55

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That 90-degree Will refers to reminds me of wild banyan-style trees in Ecuador's Amazon basin, so I'd keep it. Different background, different vision.
 

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